‘Hotteok’ or Korean sweet pancakes are a classic and popular street food in Korea. They’re ridiculously crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside!
These pancakes are usually filled with brown sugar only or brown sugar with an assortment of nuts. For this recipe, I used what I had in my pantry, which included walnuts, sunflower seeds, and peanuts. But you can also use any combination of nuts or seeds that you like!
These pancakes are incredibly delicious and remind me so much of my time when I was in Korea. I recommend making extra because these sweet treats will go fast!
Why you’ll love this recipe
Who would resist a crispy and chewy pancake with sweet and gooey filling? I know I wouldn’t!
While it only requires a few simple ingredients, it’s definitely a memorable treat you’d want to have all the time. You may now find different variations of ‘hotteok‘ filling, such as red bean or cheese, but nothing can beat the classic combination of brown sugar and nuts.
Once you have the dough ready, adding the filling is a fun hands-on experience. So make sure to get a friend or loved one to help you if you’re planning on making a big batch!
How do I prepare Hotteok?
Preparing ‘hotteok‘ isn’t as difficult as you think – I promise the results will be worth it once you take a bite out of this heavenly treat. To make these sweet pancakes, just follow the steps below:
Step 1: Activate the yeast
Combine yeast, sugar, and warm water in a bowl. Mix together and allow the yeast to bloom and activate for 5 to 10 minutes. Once you see foaming bubbles at the surface, you’ll know the yeast is active and ready to use.
Step 2: Complete the dough mixture
In the same bowl, add all-purpose flour, glutinous rice flour, salt, and 1 tablespoon of oil. Mix together until it forms a sticky dough. Then, cover the bowl with saran wrap or a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise for at least 1 hour.
Step 3: Make the filling
For the filling, combine light brown sugar, walnuts, sunflower seeds, peanuts, cinnamon, and salt in a separate bowl. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
Step 4: Knead the dough
After 1 hour, knead the dough a few times. Cover and let it rise again for 30 to 40 minutes.
Step 5: Divide the dough
Dust a clean and flat work surface or cutting board with flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Then, transfer the dough and cut it into 8 equal pieces. I recommend using a scale to measure the pieces so they’re consistent in size and weight.
Step 6: Roll out the dough
Using a rolling pin, roll out one divided dough into about ½ inch thickness and fill it with 2 tablespoons of the nut filling.
Step 7: Seal the pancakes
Pinch the edges of the dough together to seal the pancake. Set the assembled pancake seam side down. Repeat for the rest of the pancakes.
Step 8: Fry the pancakes
Heat a pan over medium heat with 3 tbsp of oil (use more if needed). Place the pancakes seam side down, ensuring not to overcrowd the pan. Cook them for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown.
Step 9: Flip the pancakes
Flip the pancake and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to drain and cool.
Step 10: Serve!
Once the pancakes are done draining, transfer them to a plate and serve while hot. Enjoy!
Cooking Tips for Hotteok
If this is your first time making ‘hotteok‘, applying these tips can help make the process easier:
- Avoid using hot water to activate the yeast so that you won’t kill the microorganisms that make the dough rise. The temperature of the water should be between 100F to 110F (38C to 43C)
- If you have a mixer with a dough hook attachment, you can also use it to knead the dough faster.
- Feel free to use any assortment of nuts that you like!
- Don’t overfill the dough with the filling, otherwise, it can be difficult to close and cause leakage.
- When frying the pancakes, make sure to flatten them with the spatula so they get evenly crispy!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Active dry yeast: active dry yeast will make the dough rise so it’s soft and chewy to eat. But you can also substitute it with instant dry yeast.
Sugar: the sugar helps ‘feed’ and activate the yeast. It also adds a bit of sweetness to the dough. I recommend using regular white sugar, cane sugar, or honey for this.
Warm water: similar to the sugar above, warm water is used to activate the yeast. The temperature of the water should be approximately 110F – 115F (43C – 46C)
All-purpose flour: all-purpose flour is the base of the dough. If you don’t have any at home, you can combine 70 grams of bread flour and 60 grams of cake flour.
Glutinous rice flour: glutinous rice flour will give the pancakes a sticky and chewy consistency. But if you don’t have any, you can leave it out since it’s difficult to replicate the texture it provides with other flours.
Salt: a little salt goes a long way! It seasons the dough and balances out the subtle sweetness in the filling.
Neutral oil: any neutral-tasting oil will work great for frying the pancakes, including vegetable, canola, or peanut oil.
Light brown sugar: light brown sugar gives the pancakes an irresistibly sweet taste. But you can also use dark brown sugar if you can’t find any at the store.
Walnuts: walnuts add an earthy flavor and crunchy texture to the pancakes, but you can also replace them with pecans, cashews, or almonds.
Sunflower seeds: sunflower seeds have a mild nutty flavor and they add variation to the texture of the pancakes. You can also substitute them with pepita, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds.
Peanuts: you can also substitute the peanut with any nut of your choice, including Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, or pistachios.
Cinnamon: cinnamon enhances the sweetness of the sugar because of its pleasant aroma. You can leave it out if you don’t have any at the moment since it’s difficult to replicate its taste and fragrance..
Frequently Asked Questions
What is light brown sugar?
Light brown sugar slightly differs from dark brown sugar because it contains less molasses. It has a lighter color and less complex flavor, so the pancakes don’t as sweet. You can also use dark brown sugar for this recipe, but feel free to adjust the amount according to your preferred sweetness level.
Can I air fry hotteok?
If you want a healthier alternative, you can also cook the pancakes in an air fryer. Although it’s not the traditional method of preparing them, they will still be just as delicious!
To start, spray the air fryer basket with oil and place the pancakes in the basket, leaving about 2 inches of space in between them. Allow them to cook for 10-15 minutes at 356°F (180°C) or until they’re golden brown and crispy. Be sure to flip halfway so both sides are cooked evenly.
Can you store hotteok in the fridge?
Hotteok is best enjoyed when they’re freshly made, but you can also store leftovers in the fridge. Keep them in an airtight container so they stay fresh for up to 3 days. To reheat them, place them in a pan with a bit of oil until they’re heated through. You can also pop them in the microwave in 30-second increments until they’re hot.
Can you keep hotteok dough in the freezer?
Yes, you can store the assembled hotteok in the freezer. Make sure to wrap it securely with cling wrap and it’ll stay good for 3 months. You can take them straight from the freezer and fry them in a pan with oil!
Looking for more easy and delicious snack recipes?
If you’re looking for more snacks to satiate your sweet tooth, make sure to check out these recipes:
1. Mango Pancake – this pancake recipe is closer to a crepe, but it’s just the right amount of sweetness and refreshing that makes it the perfect treat. Make sure to use the best ripe mangoes you can find for this dish!
2. Miso Banana Bread – if you want to make memorable banana bread, try adding a bit of miso. Its salty and savory flavors balance out the sweetness of the bananas, making it the ultimate banana bread you could ever make!
3. Mango Mochi – mango mochi is a staple Hong Kong street food, but you don’t need to go there to get a taste since you can easily replicate it at home with this recipe. It only uses 7 ingredients and only takes 10 minutes to make! 😉
4. Hong Kong French Toast – this indulgent French toast recipe is perfect for breakfast or as a snack, and it only takes 20 minutes to make from pantry-friendly ingredients. It’s served with a knob of butter and a generous drizzle of condensed milk!
5. Egg Waffle with Ice Cream – this fluffy and crispy egg waffle recipe makes the perfect base for ice cream. Don’t be afraid to stuff it with as many toppings as you like – whether it’s fruits, Nutella, mochi, and more!
Hotteok (호떡) Korean Sweet Pancakes
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 3 tsp sugar
- 1 cup warm water approximately 105-115F
- 220g (1 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 65g (1/2 cup) glutinous rice flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp neutral oil divided + more if needed
- 150g (3/4 cup) light brown sugar
- 3 tbsp walnuts, chopped
- 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 3 tbsp peanuts, chopped
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Combine yeast, sugar, and water in a bowl. Mix together and allow the yeast to bloom and activate for 5-10 minutes. If you see foaming bubbles at the surface, the yeast is active and ready to use.
- In same bowl, add all-purpose flour, glutinous rice flour, salt and 1 tbsp of oil. Mix together until it forms a sticky dough. Cover with saran wrap or a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise for at least 1 hour.
- For the filling, combine light brown sugar, walnuts, sunflower seeds, peanuts, cinnamon and salt. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
- After 1 hour, knead the dough a few times. Cover and let it rise again for 30-40 minutes.
- Dust a clean work surface or cutting board with flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Transfer the dough and cut it into 8 equal pieces. *I recommend using a scale to measure out the pieces so they're consistent*
- Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into 1/2 inch thickness and fill it with 2 tbsp of the nut filling.
- Pinch the edges of the dough together to seal the pancake. Set the assembled pancake seam side down. Repeat for the rest of the pancakes.
- Heat a pan over medium heat with 3 tbsp of oil (use more if needed). Place the pancakes seam side down, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.
- Flip the pancake and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to drain and cool.
- Serve while hot and enjoy!
- Feel free to use any nuts or seeds you like!
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